your neighbor

God’s definition of what matters is pretty straightforward. He measures our lives by how we love. – Francis Chan

I’ve been on an unintentional hiatus here.  Spring means parties.  Four birthday parties in two months here.  It’s where I switch party themes from princess, to monkey, to ninja.. and I smile because they each are so unique.  We have a two, four, and six year old now.  No one is joking when they say: “time flies by.”  The days can be long, but the years are quite terribly short.

Spring also brought my baby sister moving out.  Ten months she was with us!  I miss hearing the baby gate by the basement stairs squeak (as I head to bed).  It was at that time most nights Debbi emerged from her room downstairs for the fourth meal of the day- ice cream.  (Oh.. to be seventeen and eat ice cream every night without gaining a pound!) Glad we said “yes” to sharing everyday life with Debbi & that we survived still liking each other.  (Because she only moved a mile from here – I also don’t have to miss her too bad).

My in-laws visited us this spring as well.  It had been much too long since our last visit and we managed to squeeze in lots of extra fun while they were here.  I think Jameson put it perfectly a couple nights after they left and I was tucking him into bed: “mom- I like it when Grandpa and Nana want to do whatever we’re in the mood to do”. That is my in-laws! They are easy to have and want to be a help.  They love through giving.  They do dishes, play with the kids, fill the candy jar, and treat us to dinner out.  They make regular days pretty spectacular days.. which is exactly what grandparents should do- right?

I also was able to take a spontaneous trip (with my sister Kate) to see my brother Joe. This is the first time I’ve flown to see a sibling because I wanted them to know they weren’t alone.  Because I could say on the phone “I’m here for you” but I really felt like I wanted to literally be THERE for him.  My siblings agreed and we made it happen.. i love seeing what love can do!  (I guess you could say Kate and I were sent as ambassadors.)

We’ve been doing a series at church this spring on how loving God is shown through how we love others.  It’s been good.  Meanwhile I’ve felt this personal struggle to do a better job of just that- loving others.  I can love my children through planning cheap birthday parties that they’ll talk about for the next twelve months.  I can love my sister by letting her in.. letting her see my better days and letting her see me when I’m a wreck.  I can love my in-laws for exactly who they are and the way my children miss them immediately when they’re gone.  I can love my brother by going.  But- in each of these things.. I could also make it about me.  (Because face it- we’re pretty self centered.  We come first).

The second commandment is to love thy neighbor as thyself.  The problem is I can stay so busy taking care of myself,  I just don’t have time for “extra”.  (This isn’t an extra, God measures our life by how we love).  I could focus so much on how I’m feeling or what I need.. that I could miss the opportunity to care for someone else.

I need to love better.  How do you love those around you?

Who is your neighbor?  

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